17th april - 30th may 2015
600 growth rings counted the beech that stood in the park of Vila Nova de Gaia – the city at the bank of the Douro river where the ancient Port Wine cellars are located. The tree was grown to an impressive natural monument and defied steadfastly over centuries the attacks of wind, weather and the progress of time. But even those forces failed and one year ago the tree had to be cut down. The stock was sawed in discs, numbered and piled up to a massive installation in the artist’s atelier.
The life lines of this giant have given the main inspiration to the sculptural work of the series RINGS. Paulo Neves has transformed each element with special sensibility and skill into unique sculptures, always respecting the origin of this rare wood. He has been searching for new approaches, on some discs he had strongly dissolved their shape, on others he was working with a minimal intervention or underlined the characteristics of the form, but in each element he caught the rhythmic regularity and the natural curving of the age rings and shaped them with his personal interpretation. In each of these sculptures one may recover the uniqueness of this tree; the archaic, familiarity, calmness, and beauty.
It might not be a coincidence that the wood of this beech has been entrusted to the sculptor Paulo Neves.